Heart of a Handmaiden

My two little boys are at the age where listening and obeying my wishes are a daily challenge. For example, just the other day, the boys were jumping on my bed and I asked them to stop…Yes, I know they are boys and I am that mommy spoiling their fun, but my biggest concern was them crashing into our hard wood footboard and consequently a trip to the ER!

So, when I asked them to stop, they actually did stop! And just as I was walking away I thought with a smile on my face, “Wow, I have such obedient little boys!”

However, my thoughts quickly changed…because as soon as I left the room they began jumping again! Seriously? So I went back to my bedroom and this time with a little more sternness, I asked them again to stop jumping. They stopped…but again only until I left the room. This was one of those “Lord, help me!” moments because I was about to lose some self-control! I was certainly not happy that they didn’t obey my commands.  In my opinion, my boys were showing me compliance…for a moment… but not obedience.

As a parent, I want obedience more than compliance from my children. And I believe that the Lord wants the same from us as well…as his children…obedience not just compliance.

I attended a bible study recently where the difference between compliance and obedience was briefly mentioned. I found this rather interesting and decided to look deeper into these 2 terms.

Most of us, myself included, would say that compliance and obedience pretty much mean the same thing. Even if you were to look these 2 words up in the dictionary, one word is included in the other’s definition.

Obedience-the act or practice of complying with or following the commands, restrictions, wishes, or instructions of

Compliance-the act of being in accordance or cooperating with wishes, requests, demands, requirements, or conditions (sometimes followed by with)

Pretty similar, wouldn’t you agree? So then how exactly are they different?

I believe that compliance is doing something even though you may not want to. You can comply…do as you are asked… but in your heart you may not respect or trust the person you are complying with. Just like my boys jumping on the bed…they stopped jumping but they didn’t really want to…which became apparent by them continuing to jump when I left the room!

I also believe that compliance can be forced upon a person. I want my children to obey, but sometimes out my frustration, I can force them to comply with my wishes. (For example, I can get my children off the bed thus preventing them from jumping. However, I would be forcing them to comply versus them wanting to obey.)

Obedience, on the other hand, is doing what is being asked because you truly want to in your heart. Obedience is a choice and cannot be forced. (Even though I wish I could force obedience with my children sometimes!!!) But again, it is a choice whether you obey or not. And this is the same in our relationship with God…we have a choice whether we obey or not obey His instructions and commands for us.

I really love character studies in the bible…basically taking an individual, studying their life and seeing what God has done in them and through them in their experiences.

One great example for us all to follow and truly a remarkable woman is Mary, Jesus’ mother! I absolutely love Mary! What kind of woman is worthy enough to be chosen by God to be the mother of His one and only precious son, Jesus? The answer is in her response.

So exactly how did Mary respond to this life changing request from God? How did she respond when God’s messenger told her that she was chosen to give birth to the Messiah named Jesus? (Hmmmm…if you were a virgin like Mary and received this news, you would probably be thinking… “You’ve got to be kidding God!” right?

Well, Mary’s response?…She called herself the handmaiden of the Lord!

Then Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said. And the angel left her. Luke 1:38 AMP

This statement from Mary can so easily be overlooked but it exemplifies something about Mary that is so profound that it cannot be overlooked!

In the Bible, a handmaiden (also called a maidservant) refers to a female slave whose will was not her own. Instead she was obligated to perform her master’s will without question or delay. A handmaiden would sit silently, watching for hand signals from her mistress which she would obey without question or hesitation.

We keep looking to the LORD our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal. Psalm 123:2

Mary had the heart of a handmaiden! She responded without any hesitation “let it be done according to what you have said.” Whatever God wanted, Mary as a humble handmaiden was willing to do…even if her obedience meant her life would be changed forever.

There are so many great things I can share about Mary. To name a few, she demonstrated a heart of devotion, commitment, and passion for the Lord. She demonstrated a heart of faith, complete surrender, and praise.

Oh my goodness! Have you ever read Mary’s song of praise called the Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55? …Truly a woman who loved and worshipped her Lord and whose heart was saturated with the word of God. But the one thing that really stands out to me about Mary is…her love and obedience for the Lord…she had the heart of a handmaiden.

Do you have the heart of a handmaiden like Mary? Do you respond to God’s instructions and commands without question or hesitation…like Mary? With heartfelt obedience…a submissive heart of love, trust and immeasurable respect for the God who created you and this universe?

Or are you just complying with God? …Doing what he asks but without a heart that truly trusts and honors him? Grudgingly doing what the Lord wants you to do? Or doing it with a hesitant, critical or complaining heart?

As we can see, the difference between compliance and obedience is a matter of our heart. And love is the most important component in heartfelt obedience to God.

Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them. John 14:21 NLT

If you love me, obey my commandments. John 14:15 NLT

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 2 John 1:6 NIV

Obedience flows out of love for God and leads to greater intimacy with him. The more we know God, the more we can trust him. The more we trust him, the more we love him. The more we love him, the more we will obey him. The more we obey him, the more we will learn about the trustworthiness of God.

I am sure we all have complied with God’s commands. But I pray that we would all follow Mary’s example, a handmaiden for the Lord…that we would continue to grow in our love for God and grow in the attitude of heartfelt love and submission to his authority.

My boys? Well, they are growing and learning as well. Their hearts have not yet grasped the essence of true love…Godly love… but as they continue to grow in their understanding of authority, respect, and trust, I believe their compliance will be replaced with a heart of loving obedience. Oh and I can’t wait!

Reflection Points:

1)      Do you find yourself just complying with God and his commands? Or obeying him wholeheartedly?

2)      What can you change in your relationship with God in order to obey and submit to him with all your heart? Spend more time with him…praying and reading his word?

Action Points:

1)      If you are complying with God, pray to the Lord to change your heart. Consequently, your attitude towards his commands will change as well as your outward behavior.

With my whole heart have I sought You, inquiring for and of You and yearning for You; Oh, let me not wander or step aside [either in ignorance or willfully] from Your commandments. Psalm 119:10 AMP

2)      Spend more time with God reading his word…then your love for him and trust in him will grow.

Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

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Am I Losing My Mind?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2 NIV

I was driving on the freeway. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with fear and anxiousness. My breathing began to change. I was overcome with emotion but only a few tears fell down my cheeks. I took smaller quicker breaths.  And then…I began to hyperventilate. At the same instance, a tingling and numbness formed on the right side of my face and my arm started to go numb. 

I had to get off the freeway quick! I got off at the next off ramp and pulled to safety on the side of the road. My breathing continued as well as the tingling in my body. I remember crying out, “Lord please help me! I don’t know what to do!” After a few moments, the numbness subsided and my breathing returned to normal. I had just had an anxiety/panic attack.

This was the experience I had approximately 14 years ago. I used to suffer from periodic panic attacks.  I had just begun a right relationship with Jesus and couldn’t believe I was experiencing another attack! I remember thinking… that was something from my old life …it wasn’t supposed to follow me into my new life with Christ! Right?

Doesn’t 2 Corinthians 5:17 say…This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Why did I have these attacks? What triggered them?  I was determined to overcome them and sought the Lord for answers.

I first came to realize that once this process of having a panic attack began with my altered breathing and numbness, it was too late. The neurotransmitters in my body had already released and all I could do was just wait it out until it was over.

So how could I stop this process from even beginning? I came to understand that these anxiety/panic attacks were triggered by my thoughts. A thought…a thought that I dwelled on just a little too long…a concerning thought that turned into a stressful/anxious thought that turned into a fearful thought.

Have you or anyone you know ever suffered from anxiety/ panic attacks?

Well, maybe you haven’t, but maybe you have struggled with your thoughts at some point or another.

You may have struggled with negative thoughts, doubtful thoughts, irrational thoughts, condemning thoughts, fearful thoughts, sinful thoughts. Consuming thoughts of your past…stressful thoughts of your present… or worrying thoughts of your future.

Have you ever allowed your mind to travel down roads…all kinds of roads…that have nothing good but a miserable end? Or have you ever been so consumed by your thoughts that they have consumed your entire day?

You may have felt like you were losing your mind and had no control!

Unfortunately, I have come across many Christian women who struggle and can’t seem to control their thoughts… they are overwhelmed and consumed by them. I was one of them.

Thoughts are very powerful. Because thoughts are so powerful, we must better understand where these unproductive, negative thoughts come from…and take control over them! Yes! Believe it or not, we, as children of Christ, can and are able to take control of our thoughts!

It is so important for us to control our thoughts because Romans 8:5 tells us that our thoughts are related to our actions.

For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. NET

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. ESV

Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us so that we can continue to have our old way of negative thinking.  We can have freedom and peace and walk in victory over our thoughts! Yes this means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Now, Romans 12:2 also says…Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Our minds must be renewed. We can’t expect our old way of thinking to just change immediately when we become a Christian. It is a process. It is a transformation. And it may take time. But we can do it!

Why do we as women struggle so much with our thoughts? 

The bible doesn’t give us a clear answer about women specifically struggling but it does show that woman’s struggle with thoughts began with Eve in the Garden of Eden. This is where Satan planted seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind.

In Genesis 3:1, Satan says to Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” By Satan saying “Did God really say…” he planted seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind. She doubted and began to question God’s goodness, love and motives.

We can see from this example that one way we can have wrong or negative thoughts is by Satan planting them in our minds.

Another way we can have wrong or negative thoughts is…by us. Plain old us! As Christians, we constantly battle between our flesh and the spirit.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Gal 5:17NIV

Lining up our thoughts with God’s thoughts is vital to overcoming negative thoughts whether they are from Satan or from us.

So, how can we line our thoughts with God’s thoughts to control our minds?

1)      First it is important to determine immediately where the thought is coming from. Before you dwell on it too long…Is it something you thought yourself or is it a thought planted from the enemy? Would God want you to have this thought?

2)      If it is your own thought or a thought planted from the enemy, you must compare it to God’s word. Therefore, you must know God’s word well enough to be able to compare what is in your mind with what is in the mind of God.

3)      What does the bible say about your thought? For example, if it is a fearful thought, the bible says that God does not give us fear.

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 KJ

4)      So once you have determined that it isn’t a Godly thought, you need to apply  2Corinthians 10:5 and take that thought captive.

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB

That wrong thought pretty much needs to bow down in obedience to Christ. It cannot be placed above the knowledge of God.

5)      Find specific scriptures that apply to your specific thought struggle. Memorize or carry those scriptures around with you especially if your thoughts have triggered anxiety/panic attacks.

6)      Renewing our minds must happen on a daily basis and therefore we should always be filling our minds with God’s word.

Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Ephesians 4:23 NLT

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 NIV

7)      Praise God…Praising Him will take the focus off your negative thought and on to our positive God! And this will bring you peace!

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3NIV

The battle we fight in our minds is not an easy fight and it requires us to renew our minds daily…but take it from me and my experiences…it can be done! We can have freedom and victory in our minds!

Reflection Points:

1)      Do you struggle with anxiety/panic attacks? If so, what thought triggers it?

2)      Do you struggle regularly with your thoughts? What thoughts do you specifically struggle with? Negative, sinful, fearful thoughts, etc?

3)      Do you feel like you can’t control your thoughts?

Action Points:

1)      If you have suffered from anxiety/panic attacks, you need to determine what thoughts trigger it.

2)      If you struggle with controlling your thoughts, refer to the practical steps above to gain control over your mind.

3)      Surrender your mind to Christ and pray for the Lord’s help in this battle of your mind. Rely on the power of his word to overcome and have the freedom and peace he wants you to have.

 

 

More than Conquerors

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37NIV

Each day, most of my time is spent taking care of my 2 precious little boys. Connor is 4 and Bryce is 2 and they keep me quite busy…pretty much the entire day! There are some wonderful moments that I cherish, but there are plenty of not so wonderful moments too! My boys are at the age where they may play nicely together or all hell breaks loose when one child takes a toy from the other. I find myself often times officiating these outbreaks to try and keep the peace!

These daily disagreements don’t just occur between my boys but between me and the boys as well. This is where I have learned to pick and choose my battles! I may battle when Bryce hits Connor but I may not battle when Connor doesn’t want to wear what I have set out for him. I may battle when one child is in danger but I may not battle when one dumps his toys across the room that I have just picked up. I may battle when Connor says “No” to me when I have asked him to do something, but I may not battle when Bryce runs away from me when I am trying to change his diaper!

If I battle every little thing with my kids during my day, I would not be writing this blog and would guarantee that you wouldn’t want to be around me. That’s for sure!

The bible also shares with us that we are not to fight all the battles that come before us. God says in 2 Chronicles 2:15: Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

Oh yes! The battles will come! Some for the Lord to fight on our behalf and some for us to fight!

So what about the battles that we have to fight?

We may have big battles to fight or small battles to fight. They may be quick short battles or long and draining battles.

We may battle fear, anxiety, insecurity, pressures, addictions, sin, and relational dysfunction. We may battle with our spouses, our children, our families, our friends and many times battle with ourselves. It may be a battle of our own mind, will, and emotions.

So once we have determined we have a battle to fight, what does the bible say?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors [we overwhelming conquer NASB] through him who loved us. Romans 8:37NIV

In the book of Romans, when Paul said that we are more than conquerors, he was writing to people who had lost friends, property, and family because of Christ. Eventually, some were tortured and some were put to death.

Our circumstances may not be as harsh as theirs, but they are harsh enough to where we sometimes feel defeated. We sometimes feel like we have been conquered. We sometimes want to just give up and surrender. We may feel tired, worn out, flat out exhausted.  We just may not want to fight anymore because we feel emotionally, physically, mentally, and even spiritually defeated! But even in our own circumstances, we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus!

I absolutely love this scripture! When I don’t feel that I can get through a battle in my life, I remind myself of these encouraging words. To capture a greater understanding of this scripture, I am going to break it down for you and for me!

No, in all these things…this is an answer to the scriptures that precede Romans 8:37.  Therefore we must see what question is being asked in Romans 8:35-36.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: For your sake we face death all day long;we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.  Romans 8:35-36 NIV

Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword? Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter. Romans 8:35-36 AMP

By examining these scriptures in 2 different versions of the bible, we can see that “…in all these things” means the difficulties and battles we may face in life. One commentary says “we are more than conquerors; not only over sin and Satan, but the world, the reproaches, afflictions, and persecutions of it.” [Commentary-Gill’s Exposition]

“In all these things” also means…in the very midst of them; while we are enduring them. Therefore, we are more than conquerors while we are going through these difficulties/ battles…not just at the end when we have overcome them.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:57

We are more than conquerors…First note that it says “we are” present tense. That means we are…like right now “more than a conqueror” not “we will be” or “we are going to be” once we get through our battle.

Also, we aren’t just conquerors… “we are more than conquerors.” We don’t just conquer…“we overwhelmingly conquer.” What does this mean?

The word “to conquer” comes from the Greek base word “nikao” which can also be translated as “to overcome, to prevail, or to be victorious.” But in Romans 8:37, there is a prefix which deepens and strengthens the meaning of the word. The prefix is huper which means “over.” That is to say, literally, “we over conquer.” That is why the NASB says “we overwhelmingly conquer”, and also why many other translations say that “we are more than conquerors.”

Through him … This means through Christ’s strength and power, not our own.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 KJ (2000)

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor 12:9 NIV

Who loved us…This demonstrates Christ’s love for us…“who has loved us, still loves us, and whose love engages his power to stand by us and protect us against all our enemies.” [Commentary- Gill’s Exposition]

Ok, so what does this scripture mean for us? Conquering is one thing but what does it mean to be more than a conqueror?

I believe being more than a conqueror is not just fighting the battle and having victory but also keeping your victory…Continuing to live victoriously!

How do we continue to live victoriously?

1)      Believe that you are victorious…The enemy will try to bring doubt immediately after your victory. He will make you think that you really didn’t win the battle and that you will not continue to be victorious. Push these doubts out of your mind and KNOW that you have the victory!

2)      Read and use God’s word as your sword to fight.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11NIV

3)      Remind yourself that you have Jesus living inside of you which is far more powerful than Satan in the world.

You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.1 John 4:4 HCSB

4)      Accountability- Rely on other Christians to encourage you and help you stay strong in keeping your victory.

5)      Being prepared… Have specific scriptures ready just in case you face the same battle. That way you won’t have to battle through it again or at least you will be prepared because you are ready with God’s word.

Be encouraged! We may have battles to fight while we are here on this earth but the war has already been won…by our Lord Jesus Christ!

Reflection Points:

1)      Are you battling right now? Are you tired and worn out from fighting this battle?

2)      Is the battle yours to fight or the Lord’s?

3)      If the battle is yours, how are you focusing and leaning on God and being “more than a conqueror?”

 Action Points:

1)      Determine if your battle is yours or the Lord’s to fight.  If you aren’t sure then pray and ask the Lord to give you clarity and direction.

2)      If the battle is yours to fight, then make sure the Lord is in your battle with you. Keep praying and leaning on him for His power and strength to get through.

3)      Don’t let previous unsuccessful battles discourage you from receiving victory over your present battle.

4)      Keep your victory!…See list above on how to continue to live victoriously!

The Grace Curve

Do you like taking tests? Most of you, if not, all of you, would probably say…No absolutely not!

When I attended college at UCLA, I was pre-med and had to take many science classes. I don’t know about your experience and times may have certainly changed but when I went to college, there was a lot of emphasis on your exams. They pretty much made up most, if not all, of your grade for the class. Unlike high school, where you have quizzes, reports, projects, participation, and exams that make up your final grade for the class, in college, the midterm and final exam usually determine your grade for the course. So there is certainly lot of pressure when taking these college tests!

At UCLA, I was required to take Organic Chemistry to fulfill my major…not so fun!! I remember studying hours for one particular exam. When I began taking this test, I recall feeling hot and began sweating out of nervousness. There were only 10 questions on the exam and it was out of 100 points. Therefore, each question was worth 10 points. I skipped at least 3 questions because they looked completely foreign to me and moved on. I figured if I didn’t get the right answer I would still get some partial credit for effort so I wrote down as much as I could on each question.

I handed in my exam at the end of the class and walked out feeling somewhat relieved that it was over but more frightened about the test score I would receive. I mean if I skipped 3 questions I was looking at a maximum score of 70 and that’s if I get every other question completely correct! Uuuugh…not such a good start!!!

At the next class later that week, I received my score…13/100.Seriously? Is that even possible?  What was even more ridiculous was that to my complete astonishment, my failed score turned into a passing score of a C based on the class curve! Thank goodness for class curves!!!

If I were to analyze this testing scenario, I would have to say this curve is a good indicator that the professor didn’t do a very good job of teaching the material or his questions were too difficult and may not have matched his teaching.

Tests are given in school to determine whether the material taught has been understood and learned. Unfortunately, tests do not end after we are done with our schooling…just as we have tests to pass in school we also have tests to pass in life.

And I am sure it’s no surprise to you…as Christians, God will test us! Oh joy! Right?

But there is a difference between a school teacher/professor testing us and God testing us…our teachers test us so they can determine how much of the taught material we have learned.

God  tests us not so he can determine how much we know or how we will handle certain situations. God tests us not to show him what is truly inside of us…but to show us what is truly inside of us!!!

God already knows what’s inside of us…the good and the bad! He just wants us to know…the good to encourage us and the bad so we can do better!  And he will use different situations in our life to test us. He knows exactly the purpose of every test in our life.

God’s purpose in showing us what’s inside of us is so he can refine us, teach us, strengthen us, and encourage us.

The bible gives us many examples of people that God tested. Here are just a few…

  • God tested Adam and Eve’s obedience.
  • God tested Abraham’s faith and obedience.
  • God tested Moses and the Israelite’s patience.
  • God tested Joshua and Caleb’s faith and belief.
  • God tested Job’s faithfulness and commitment (and talk about being tested!!!)
  • God tested Jesus through Satan’s temptations in the desert.

What areas of our lives will God test us?

We can be tested in just about every area of our lives…

He tests our mind.

I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds. Jeremiah 17:10 ESV

He tests our hearts.

Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the LORD tests the heart. Proverbs 17:3 NLV

He tests our character and our obedience.

I wrote for this purpose: to test your character to see if you are obedient in everything. 2Corinthians 2:9 HCSB

He tests our love.

The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 13:3NIV

He tests our strength to overcome temptation.

Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been tested, he will receive a crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James1:12 AB

He tests our faith.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2 NIV

In addition to the areas listed above, God will test our patience (Every single day for me with my boys!) our faithfulness, our character and even our self-control.

The question isn’t whether we are tested but whether we can pass God’s tests. The bible makes it clear… not if we face trials but when we face trials!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds… James 1:2 NIV

He will allow us to face trials in our lives so he can test whether we will pass or fail. The greatest thing about God’s tests verses tests in school is that God’s tests are based on a Grace Curve.

What I mean by that is that He will continue to give us opportunities to pass the test. Over and over again, he will test us so that we will improve. A curve in school gives us the opportunity to pass a test only that one time, but with God’s Grace Curve we are given multiple opportunities . He is so gracious, loving and full of mercy that he continues to give us 2nd, 3rd, and however many chances to overcome and be victorious.

We aren’t perfect but as we face each test in life we can determine by the outcome of our tests what we can do differently next time to pass. In her most recent book “Unglued”, Lysa Terkeurst says that we are making “imperfect progress”…which is ok! The way I look at it…progress can mean 2 steps forward and 1 step back as long as we are heading in the right direction.

Do you see God’s Grace Curve as he continues to give you opportunities to pass his tests?

How can we pass God’s tests in life?

1)      Read His word…How can you be the way God wants you to be if you don’t know what that is! His tests are open book…All the answers are in his word.

2)      Pray for greater power and strength to pass his tests. Pray for God’s wisdom and guidance.

3)      Have Christian women in your life that you trust to help you and pray with you when you are tested. In the world of academics, this would be called cheating…in God’s eyes this is called accountability.

4)      Remind yourself that God has a purpose with every test in your life. You may not always know what that is but continue to trust him.

Aren’t you glad that our teacher/professor/ instructor in life is a God who grades us on a Grace Curve, giving us opportunities over and over again when we fail….so that we can eventually succeed and pass the tests we are faced with in life?

As I look at my “imperfect progress”, I know I sure am!

Reflection Points:

1)      What test are you taking in your life right now?

2)      Have you been tested in this area before?

3)      What can you do differently this time or next time to pass God’s test?

4)      Do you see God’s grace curve as he continues to give you opportunities to pass his tests?

Action Points:

Please review the steps in the last paragraph to help you pass God’s tests in life.